FDA takes action to protect consumers from fraudulent dietary supplements
FDA News Release: “On Nov. 17, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in partnership with other government agencies, today announced the results of a yearlong sweep of dietary supplements to identify potentially unsafe or tainted supplements. The sweep resulted in civil injunctions and criminal actions against 117 various manufacturers and/or distributors of dietary supplements and tainted products falsely marketed as dietary supplements. Among the cases announced today is a criminal case charging USPlabs LLC and several of its corporate officers. USPlabs was known for its widely popular workout and weight loss supplements, which it sold under names such as Jack3d and OxyElite Pro.
Led by the U.S. Department of Justice, the sweep included the FDA, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
The indictment alleges that USPlabs engaged in a conspiracy to import ingredients from China using false certificates of analysis and false labeling and then lied about the source and nature of those ingredients after it put them in its products. According to the indictment, USPlabs told some of its retailers and wholesalers that it used natural plant extracts in products called Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, when in fact it was using a synthetic stimulant manufactured in a Chinese chemical factory.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants sold some of their products without determining whether they would be safe to use. To the contrary, as the indictment notes, the defendants knew of studies that linked the products to liver toxicity.
The indictment also alleges that USPlabs and its principals told the FDA in October 2013 that it would stop distribution of OxyElite Pro, once the product had been implicated in an outbreak of liver injuries. The indictment alleges that, despite this promise, USPLabs engaged in a surreptitious, all-hands-on-deck effort to sell as much OxyElite Pro as it could as quickly as possible. It was sold at dietary supplement stores across the nation.” End excerpt. CLICK HERE to read the entire press release. Here is another press release from the Justice Dept naming some of the companies involved. CLICK HERE to read more.
This underscores what I have been telling you for years The entire responsible supplement industry has been waiting for the feds to act. Why are these companies allowed to continue to sell fraudulent products and how can they continue to make illegal claims? Maybe this is a sign that we can begin to have confidence in the products we purchase because we know that bad companies are being removed. This again highlights some very important points.
- The supplement industry is highly regulated. Ask any good supplement manufacturer if they are regulated and they can confirm for you the extensive regulations that have been in place since Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994, The FDA regulates foods, drugs, cosmetics and now supplements. Those who claim that supplements are unregulated is either woefully uninformed or they are denying the truth. In either case you cannot trust someone who does not know the basic facts.
- There are bad companies. There are many ways to make inferior and/or adulterated dietary supplements. Companies who willfully do this are scamming the consumers by using inferior raw materials, using substandard potencies, and/or adulteration with pharmaceutical compounds. Such companies will make claims that are not true to entice consumers with unsubstantiated claims.
This is largely an internet problems. Companies who sell only on the internet are suspect. Certainly not all internet companies are scammers. You as the consumer must make the distinctions that can lead you to better products from better companies. You must do your research. One way to have more confidence is to visit an independent health food store. These are usually run by people who have a passion for health and have a mission to help others discover nutritional products that are safe and effective. Other reliable sources can include naturopathic doctors and nutritional counselors. You need to have a good resource that you can trust. Look for products from companies who have been helping consumers for many years. A company with a long history and a good reputation is a good place to start.
One final point, these products are not dietary supplements when they are spiked with drugs. They are fake and fraudulent. They create false hope, unrealistic expectations and the possiblity of harm or even death. These are NOT supplements. They are pretend supplements designed to take advantage of a consumer who desires safe and natural products.
The key to success is to do your homework. Your health is what you make it. You get to decide what products have earned your trust and money. Don’t be afraid to experiment with good products and companies. With consistent application of a good nutritional program you can have better health.